Legislative Briefings

Legislative Update

Florida Legislative Session 2022

What is Home Rule Authority?

Under the Florida Constitution, “Municipalities shall have governmental, corporate and proprietary powers to enable them to conduct municipal government, perform municipal functions and render municipal services, and may exercise any power for municipal purposes except as otherwise provided by law.”  Article VIII, Section 2(b), Florida Constitution.

According to the Florida League of Cities (“FLC”), the most precious powers a city in Florida has are its Home Rule powers.  For more information about Home Rule, see here: https://www.floridaleagueofcities.com/home-rule-civics-education.

Legislative Bill Summaries – 2022

The City Attorney’s Office tracks proposed legislation that effects the City’s Home Rule Authority and other bills having high municipal impact:

- Business Damages against Local Government (SB 620 and HB 569).

  • Any business that has been engaged in a lawful business in Florida for at least three years may claim business damages from a local government if the government enacts or amends an ordinance or charter provision that will cause a reduction of at least 15% of the business’ revenue or profit.
    • The bills specify procedures and methodologies for a business to recover business damages, attorney’s fees, and costs against a local government.
    • The bill’s provisions are nearly identical to the business damage procedures set forth in Florida’s eminent domain statute
      • Opposed by Florida League of Cities due to potential for increased litigation costs borne by taxpayers.

 

- Regulation of Smoking by Counties and Municipalities (HB 105 and SB 224).

  • Under current Florida law, cities cannot restrict smoking at beach parks
    • This bill would allow cities to restrict smoking within the boundaries of a beach or park that is owned by the county but located within the city, as long as it does not conflict with a county ordinance
      • Supported by FLC due to the grant of home rule authority back to Cities to regulate smoking at beaches and parks.

 

- Local Ordinances (SB 280 and HB 403).

  • Opposed by the Florida League of Cities.
  • Proposes to change the legal standards and processes used by courts to assess the validity of municipal ordinances and imposes new substantive requirements on municipalities for adopting and enforcing ordinances.  
  • Adds many requirements to the procedures by which a municipality may adopt an ordinance.
  • Authorizes award of attorney fees and costs to a prevailing plaintiffin a civil action commenced after October 1, 2022, where plaintiff alleges the ordinance is arbitrary, unreasonable, or prohibited by law.
    • Opposed by FLC due to unfunded mandates and potential increase in litigation costs borne by taxpayers.

 

- Municipal Water and Sewer Utility Rates (HB 515 and SB 866)

  • Requires municipality-owned utility company to charge customers receiving utility services in another municipality the same rates, fees, & charges as it charges consumers within its municipal boundaries.
    • Oppose due to change in longstanding principle that a utility may charge customers outside its municipal boundaries more for utility service.

 

- Vacation Rentals (SB 512 and HB 325).

  • Rated “Watch” by FLC.
  • Would maintain the “grandfather” for vacation rental ordinances passed prior to June 1, 2011.
  • Would authorize local governments to adopt a local registration program for licensing short-term rentals.  

- Prohibition of Public Funds for Lobbying (HB 501)

  • Prohibits local governments and not-for-profit organizations from using public funds to retain lobbyists
    • Provides exceptions for local government full-time employees

- Residential Home Protection (SB 518).

  • Revising conditions under which a local government may require a notice, application, approval, permit, or mitigation fee
    • Oppose due to preemption on local authority to regulate tree trimming.

- Infrastructure Project Funding/Transfers of Utility Revenues (HB 621 and SB 1162)

  • Would prohibit state agencies and water management districts from disbursing state funds (including grants) for local government infrastructure, water, and resiliency projects if the local government transfers its utility revenues for use in providing general government functions and services.
    • In effect, would limit ability of local government utility to transfer enterprise funds into general City fund.

- Soil and Water Conservation Districts (HB 783 and SB 1078)

  • Would abolish all soil and water conservation district in the state
  • Would transfer the assets and liabilities of each soil and water conservation district to a corresponding water management district.